Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Top Myths About Wind Energy - British Wind Energy Association

Wind Energy
Top Myths About Wind Energy


There's a bunch of weird ideas tossed around about wind energy. This article is by the British Wind Energy Association, and attempts to debunk those ideas. The instigation is they've several wind energy projects happening in the British Isles, and there is varying ideas about the projects.

I wonder just where the energy will come from ???

Fossil fuel subsidies 'must end'

Fossil fuel subsidies 'must end' (Monday, 21 June, 2004, By Alex Kirby, BBC News Online environment correspondent)

... a year's worth of global fossil fuel subsidies could "comfortably" pay off sub-Saharan Africa's entire international debt burden, leaving billions of dollars to spare.

The report says these subsidies amount conservatively to about $235bn a year. It argues that they both distort the global economy and hold back the development of renewables.

This is from a study by the New Economics Foundation.

The recommendations outlined in the BBC article are very sound, and I applaud them for their bravery.

  • Implementing the target of the G8 group of industrialised countries to provide at least one billion people with renewable energy by 2010, and increasing the target of access to clean energy by the poorest people to two billion over the next decade
  • Reforming international financial institutions to allow a "dramatic" increase in funding for renewable energy sources in developing countries
  • Phasing out World Bank group subsidies to fossil fuel projects by 2008, and all government subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Scientists Find New Way To Store Hydrogen Fuel

Scientists Find New Way To Store Hydrogen Fuel

University of Chicago scientists have proposed a new method for storing hydrogen fuel in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The lack of practical storage methods has hindered the more widespread use of hydrogen fuels, which are both renewable and environmentally clean. The most popular storage methods-liquid hydrogen and compressed hydrogen-require that the fuel be kept at extremely low temperatures or high pressures. But the University of Chicago's Wendy Mao and David Mao have formed icy materials made of molecular hydrogen that require less stringent temperature and pressure storage conditions.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Applications for ultracapacitors

Investigating possible automotive applications for ultracapacitors, MIT researcher Riccardo Signorelli here is setting up a test of the charge and discharge behavior of a 3,000-farad capacitor, whose stored energy is about one-eighth that of a D cell battery. (Courtesy of Joel Schindall / MIT) Known for storing a short-lived jolt of electricity essential to the successful operation of electrical circuits in devices and appliances ranging from PCs to microwave ovens, cell phones, and televisions, the capacitor is in the midst of a major, ongoing upgrade of its energy storage capabilities. After nearly two centuries in which batteries have been the obvious choice for storing usable amounts of energy, high-end capacitors, known as ultracapacitors, are poised to challenge them in a growing range of applications.

"In fuel cell vehicles, ultracapacitors have demonstrated a higher recovery of energy from braking than batteries, are considerably lighter, have a longer economic life, and are more environmentally friendly in their manufacture and disposal," says Pierre Rivard, president and CEO of Hydrogenics of Mississauga, Ontario, a clean power generation company with a focus on fuel cells.


Solar to Keep Army on the Go

During a battle, the ability to move troops swiftly and without detection can mean the difference between victory and defeat. The U.S. Army is developing tents and uniforms made from flexible solar panels to make it more difficult to track soldiers.

Jean Hampel, project engineer in the Fabric Structures Group at the Army's Natick Soldier Systems Center, said the need to reduce the Army's logistics footprint spurred interest in developing lightweight solar panels. "We want to cut back on the things that soldiers have to bring with them," including generators and personal battery packs, Hampel said. In modern warfare, portable power for communications technology is every bit as important as firepower and manpower


Solar cells turn over a new leaf.

Spinach power is not just for Popeye, it could work for computers too. US researchers have made electrical cells that are powered by plant proteins.

The biologically based solar cells, which convert light into electrical energy, should be efficient and cheap to manufacture, says co-creator Marc Baldo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They could even be used to coat and power laptops...


Monday, April 11, 2005

Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress &

Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress & a Civilization in Trouble

by Lester Brown



1. A Planet Under Stress
Ecological Bills Coming Due
Farmers Facing Two New Challenges
Ecological Meltdown in China
Food: A National Security Issue
The Case for Plan B

I. A Civilization in Trouble

2. Emerging Water Shortages
Falling Water Tables
Rivers Running Dry
Farmers Losing to Cities
Scarcity Crossing National Borders
A Food Bubble Economy

3. Eroding Soils & Shrinking Grainland
Soil Erosion: Wind and Water
Advancing Deserts
Crops and Cars Compete for Land
The Land Hungry Soybean
Grainland Gains and Losses
Spreading Land Hunger

4. Rising Temperatures and Rising Seas
EThe Temperature Record
The Yield Effect
Reservoirs in the Sky
Melting Ice and Rising Seas
More Destructive Storms
Subsidizing Climate Change

5. Our Socially Divided World
Life Expectancy: A Seminal Indicator
The Effects of the HIV Epidemic
Poverty and Hunger
Poverty and the Burden of Disease
The High Cost of Illiteracy

6. Plan A: Business as Usual
Accelerating Environmental Decline
Spreading Hunger, Growing Unrest
Streams of Environmental Refugees
Population Growth and Political Conflict
Plan A: Overwhelmed by Problems

II. The Response - Plan B

7. Raising Water Productivity
Adopting Realistic Prices
Raising Irrigation Water Productivity
Rainwater Harvesting
Raising Nonfarm Water Productivity
A Global Full-Court Press

8. Raising Land Productivity
Rethinking Land Productivity
Multiple Cropping
Raising Protein Efficiency
A Second Harvest
Saving Soil and Cropland
Restoring the Earth

9. Cutting Carbon Emissions in Half
Raising Energy Productivity
Harnessing the Wind
Converting Sunlight into Electricity
Energy from the Earth
Building the Hydrogen Economy
Cutting Carbon Emissions

10. Responding to the Social Challenge
Stabilizing Population
Universal Basic Education
Curbing the HIV Epidemic
Health for All
School Lunches for the Poor
Breaking Out

III. The Only Option

11. Plan B: Rising to the Challenge
Deflating the Bubble
A Wartime Mobilization
Creating an Honest Market
Shifting Taxes
Shifting Subsidies
A Call to Greatness

Endnotes & About the Author

Dunno if this is a good or bad thing

Because Wesley Clark is (or ?was?) the CEO of a company making electric vehicles, I am a supporter of his. He has a nice vision for a clean environment, and by having that CEO job it shows he's willing to put his body and life to service to the vision, rather than have it merely be something he's saying.

In any case, I've been getting email's from his staff as his political career has evolved. The last is the formation of "WesPAC" and a couple web sites each containing "blogs".


http://www.securingamerica.com/ - seems to be the WesPAC home page, and is listing a mission of securing America's defenses, etc.

http://www.forclark.com/ - is a community website of sorts meant for Clark supporters.

Both have a blog-oriented presentation on the web site. But both are lacking a very important feature of blogs - the RSS feed. See, with RSS one can use "news aggregation" software to pull in feeds from a zillion sources and quickly sift through them. The news feed system also provides some pull, so that when someone subscribes to a news feed, the news feed tends to pull them back whenever you post new content. As a user I want to see a news feed from Clark's site so that I can be notified, by my aggregation software, when something happens, and that I don't have to remember to visit the site to find the latest scoop.

But, the sites don't have any RSS feeds on them. And, so, I went to the feedback form to tell them this. And the feedback form gave me an error saying it didn't recognize my email address.

Like I said, that's not a good sign when they can't get a couple simple things to work right. I'm left to posting this publicly in the hopes that they can fix it, because their regular contact avenues are closed to me.

(BTW, I'm using the term "RSS" in a generic term. There are multiple file formats like ATOM, etc, but the term RSS also refers in general form to the syndication process.)

Electric motorcycle from Yamaha

Why, oh why, isn't Yamaha importing these to the U.S.?

EC-02, the little electric motorcycle by Yamaha

Well, okay, one reason would be the speed. At 30 km/h speed this thing isn't compatible with most of America's roads. And I would have a hard time calling it anything but a Moped. I have an electric moped, whose max speed is 30 mph, and want something faster because it's not quite compatible with the typical 35 mph speed (which people routinely ignore) on city streets.